At a time when police-community relationships are strained, there is a dedicated group of Oswego County high school seniors looking to join the men and women in blue, and change the narrative.

Senior Zachary Guarasce is learning new lessons outside of his Central Square classrooms and in the Oswego Police Department, preparing for his future as a police officer.

“With everything going on in the world right now, a lot of people are against police officers and just butting heads all the time,” said Guarasce. “But it’s the people that are really just dedicated to their job and helping and protecting people that are going to make a difference in the world.”

Guarasce wants to be one of those protectors.

He’s learning all about the job through the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation’s New Vision program. It's a one-year course that allows Oswego County seniors to develop skills in different careers such as business administration, nursing, and veterinary technician.

There are 68 students involved this year. They usually meet at SUNY Oswego, but have been temporarily moved to the police department.

Guarasce is one of 13 students in the law and government class, which the instructor says has doubled in size this year.

“Most of our students are entering professions in fields of service and understanding realities of working during this difficult time,” said instructor Dianna Nesbitt. “The students typically spend part of their time in a classroom setting receiving 12 college credits from SUNY Oswego.”

If they’re not in the classroom, they’re out in the community, shadowing police officers like Chelsea Giovo, who graduated from the program.

“With there being such a need for police officers and first responders, it’s great to see students being interested in this program,” said Giovo. “They can see what it’s like in a real-life experience, hands-on experience."

Guarasce says this training will be a helpful when it’s his turn to respond to calls. 

“My main goal will be to every day just help out as many people as I can and just dedicate myself to the community,” said Guarasce. “Because changing even the smallest thing for someone can make the biggest impact in their life.”

He’s looking forward to the day he can don a uniform and show residents he’s there to serve.